Here are the top stories from domestic news, world news, good news, and science and tech.
It's all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!
All sources are at the end of the post.
Justice Stephen Breyer to retire from Supreme Court:
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, seen here in 2013 (Elise Amendola/AP)
Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer has announced his intention to retire at the end of the court’s current term. Breyer has come to be known as a pragmatic liberal on the court as he is often willing to search for compromise among the ideologically divided court. Despite this, he stands firm on the topic of abortion and may have prolonged his stay on the court to personally defend Roe v. Wade. Breyer has also harked against the increasing partisan polarization even saying, “If the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts — and in the rule of law itself — can only diminish.” This is ironic as he faces unprecedented pressure to retire while Democrats still hold their slim majority in the Senate in a bid to push through a left-leaning justice. This could result in history being made as President Biden has pledged to nominate the first-ever African American Woman to the Supreme Court.
Why Germany might be the West's weak link in the Russia-Ukraine standoff:
NATO, the US, and countries across Europe are all stepping up their response to Russia’s continued threat to invade Ukraine, with the notable exception of Germany. The country has strongly resisted its allies' push to help arm Ukraine and it appears to be blocking Estonia from formerly East German artillery guns to Ukraine. Germany’s reluctance to join with its allies in this can be traced back to two main reasons. The first is the pacifistic sentiment of the country as seen by German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht’s insistence that weapons, “will not help to defuse the crisis at the moment.” The second is that Germany is reliant on Russia for roughly a third of its oil, a number that will only increase with the activation of another major Russian pipeline in Germany. Germany’s non-committal stance may prove impossible to maintain with tensions continuing to rise by the day.
Goldie the Pufferfish Went to the Dentist for Work – Now Look at Her Smile:
A pufferfish named Goldie was recently rushed to an animal dentist to have her teeth sawed in half after they grew so long she was unable to eat. Goldie the porcupine pufferfish was losing weight because of her giant teeth and so her owner Mark Byatt rushed her over to a vet to get checked out. Pufferfish teeth (called beaks) grow continuously throughout their lives, but usually are worn down and kept short through eating. However, because the pufferfish was not as forthcoming in eating food as the other fish in her tank, she continuously ate less and less food, which allowed her teeth to grow to an abnormal length. Expert animal dentists at Linnaeus-owned Sandhole Veterinary Center in Snodland, Kent, used a special saw to gently trim her inch-long teeth in half to allow her to eat. The procedure went well and when reintroduced to water it only took 5 minutes for her to start moving around and was energetic as ever. Goldie took it all like a champ and now she is smiling wide with her now shorter chompers ready to go back home.
Machine learning points to prime places in Antarctica to find meteorites:
Researchers discover a meteorite in the Nansen blue ice area near Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Antarctic research station during a 2019–2020 expedition.
The hunt for meteorites may have just gotten some new leads. A powerful new machine learning algorithm has identified over 600 hot spots in Antarctica where scientists are likely to find a bounty of the fallen alien rocks, researchers report January 26 in Science Advances. Antarctica isn’t necessarily the No. 1 landing spot for meteorites, but the southern continent is still the best place to find them, says Veronica Tollenaar, a glaciologist at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. Not only are the dark specks at the surface starkly visible against the white background, but quirks of the ice sheet’s flow can also concentrate meteorites in “stranding zones.” Such stranding zones form when the slow creep of the ice sheet over the land encounters a mountain or hidden rise in the ground. That barrier shifts the flow upward, carrying any embedded space rocks toward the surface. Combining a machine learning algorithm with data on the ice’s velocity and thickness, surface temperatures, the shape of the bedrock, and known stranding zones, Tollenaar and colleagues created a map of 613 probable meteorite hot spots, including some near existing Antarctic research stations. To date, about 45,000 meteorites have been plucked from the ice. But that’s a fraction of the 300,000 bits of space rock estimated to lie somewhere on the continent’s surface.